Fragments of Human Skull Found Buried in Mission Viejo Backyard

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Bones found buried in the backyard of a Mission Viejo home were identified as fragments of a human skull, authorities announced Wednesday.

A resident was digging to build a fence in the backyard of his home on the 24000 block of Via Madrugada on Tuesday, when he discovered a bag of bones buried in the ground, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said. Investigators now believe the bones are fragments of a human skull, Lt. Kevin Navarro announced at a news conference Wednesday.

Officials did not initially know whether the remains belonged to a human or an animal. After further digging and testing, they announced that the bones were parts of a human skull and that nothing other than the bag of bones was found in the ground, Navarro said.

The current homeowner who initially reported the bones is not under suspicion, according to Navarro.

“The next step would be, obviously, we’re going to try to identify a person, whether it be through DNA, which if we have the capabilities of doing that, we will try do that,” he said. “It’s just gonna be a matter of what we have to work with.”

The remains will be passed off to the Orange County coroner’s office for further review, officials said.

“It’s not a quick process,” O.C. deputy coroner Dana Byan said. “The degradation of what we find has a lot to do with what our limitations are in the testing.”

If the remains include teeth, it will be easier to identify the age of the deceased person, she said. Byan did not comment on whether the bones found included teeth.

“If it’s a complete skull, it would probably give us the most information,” she added.

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